How did free URL services work back in the day? ( ->


This post is gonna date me a little but back in the day, if you had a personal web 1.0. page, you could insert it onto different websites and it would give you a functional domain URL for free. So instead of a domain you’d have or something similar

How did that work? And how do you make momey of off it?

In: 2

If you own a second level domain (like the blogspot in, you are in control of the third level domains, and can assign them freely to whoever.

Hosting of the service is another matter. I believe that is where these blog providers you’re talking about actually got their money, since they also usually provided hosting service, with paid tiers with more features like more storage.

There are several levels to a domain name, but typically, when you as a company or private person buy a domain name, you become the registered owner of a second-level domain, which is located on a top-level domain.

.com is a top-level domain for example, so if you bought the second-level blogspot on the .com top-level domain, your full second-level domain name would be You repeatedly nest sub-domains onto sub-domains too, such as

As a part of becoming the registered owner of a domain, you tell the domain name registrar (the organisation you bought it from, and which is responsible for managing records of your ownership) what Domain Name Server the settings for your domain will be located on. Domain Name Servers are the systems responsible for translating something like into an actual IP-address that your computer can connect to. There are lots and lots of domain name servers, any which could do this translation, but the one you pick is the one that all the others will get their information from.

When you set up the settings for your domain, you can do more than just set which IP-address that should point to. You can also create settings for any number of sub-domains for, such as These settings can then tell whoever is trying to connect to the domain or sub-domain to either connect to an IP-address (it doesn’t have to be an IP-address that you yourself controls), or to connect to a different domain instead, like

You don’t pay more for your second-level domain even if you have thousands upon thousands sub-domains set up on it. The settings don’t take a lot of space either, and even the traffic to the Domain Name Server isn’t likely to be burdensome with that number of subdomains, so your main expense in providing a service where lots and lots <x> sub-domains point to different domains will likely be in developing and hosting a system for users to set up these redirects themselves, and then normal business overhead in collecting payments and paying taxes.

In this setup, the service is purely redirecting something like to You’d still be responsible yourself then for setting up the domain and pointing it to a server that hosts your blog, and paying any expenses associated with the setup and ongoing hosting.